Custom Box to Protect a Portable Winch

Progress on the 21st Century Writing Desk was put on hold while I built a customized wooden box to protect an expensive piece of equipment for a friend in the tree business. (This kind of friend is good to have if you’re a woodworker!)

He had recently acquired a portable winch which, while seemingly well-made, contained a number of parts that were liable to get bent or broken in the back of a truck. To further compound the issue, the winch wasn’t particularly stable, and it didn’t take much imagination to see it tipping over when turning a corner.

The objective was to make a sturdy, but lightweight box to protect it in transit. Function was first priority, and it didn’t have to look particularly nice or involve fancy joinery.

I started by milling Douglas fir, which he had provided, down to roughly 1/2″ thick and ripped the boards to a uniform width of 4-1/2″. I cut them to length which resulted in an inside dimension of about 16-1/2″.

Using 4 mm Domino floating tenons, I reinforced the butt joints and assembled four boxes measuring 4-1/2″ x 17-1/2″ x 17-1/2″ in a pinwheel fashion where one end of each board was exposed.

Custom Winch Box Open

I didn’t want to rely on the Dominos to hold the box together, so I stacked and glued the layers in a way that interlocked them. The edge-to-edge glue joints were plenty strong, and with the Domino joints interlocking between the layers, there was no way the box was going to come apart.

Simple Interlocking Joinery

To install the top and bottom of the box, I used simple battens attached to the sides of the box above and below the floating panels. I then worked out the shapes and sizes of a few strategically placed blocks that supported the winch and allowed it to be easily lowered in or removed.

Custom Winch Box Top

I trimmed out the box with strap hinges, draw latches, a rope lid stay and rope handles.

Custom Winch Box Closed

Lastly, I added skid feet to help protect the box and allow it to slide more easily into the back of a truck.

This was a simple design with a simple purpose.

I made a custom box for a torque wrench a couple years ago, too.

2 thoughts on “Custom Box to Protect a Portable Winch

    1. Hi Mike,

      Yes, I do feel that it is worth the expense. It allows me to create strong and precise joinery quickly and easily. The wide ranges of Domino sizes makes it useful in a wide range of applications.

      It provides precise alignment for mitres. I’m not sure I could have successfully assembled Puzzle Table without Dominos. Based on my experience with biscuits, they would not have yielded a successful glue-up.

      The Domino has served me well in a variety of unorthodox situations as well, including joining the back slats to the tapered, twisted back leg of Reaper. I’m pretty sure that it would have required a substantial amount of jigging with other mortising machines.


      Disclaimer: I also sell Festool for Clermont’s Ultimate Tool Supply.

I would be delighted if you left a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s